Zabowska's Blog

November 2, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect…

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 9:52 pm

The old saying is that practice ultimately makes perfect. But while we are
slugging away practising, are we becoming disillusioned writers who aren’t hopeful
and who are sabotaging every step of our progress?

Many writers believe that they should just be able to sit and write publishable
articles and stories. But is that really the case? In my experience, that has been
so far from the case that it is pitiful.

 I have been writing for about thirty years. For twenty-six years, I have been
writing academically. I completed my post-graduate degrees in Philosophy and have
been writing in the areas of medical ethics, ethics, and epistemology/philosophy of
religion. About five years ago, I decided that I wanted to write for YA and
Tweens. I felt that I taught them for over fifteen years at the time and that I
knew some of their worries and what made them tick from the hundreds of times
that I spoke to them about their family problems, boyfriend problems and just
plain self-esteem problems.

When I started academic writing, it took me five years of sheer hard work to
get my first article published. Then I wrote my first book in medical ethics, and it
took me a few years to get it published. When I started creative writing, I wanted
instant results, and sadly when they didn’t come, I got pretty depressed. But then
one day I had an aha moment. All of this writing that I have been doing for two
years was practise, and this time was necessary to make me a better writer.
Finally, I felt better.

I then met other writers that felt the same way as I have been feeling. They
also believed that they should have immediate results. If they write something, it
should get published. But the publishing world doesn’t work that way. They want
writers who will persevere and who will try to write in the best possible way that
they are capable of. And it takes time and a lot of effort and hard work to learn
how to write effectively.

So, the best way to develop any skill is to practise. This is especially the case for
writing because it is hard to write clearly and in a way that editors will like and
ultimately publish. So, give yourself a break. Keep perfecting your craft and one
day you will write like a champ. And do so with an upbeat and hopeful attitude!



  1. Sunny,

    This is a subject close to my heart since I suffer greatly from it. But then, I’ve been a perfectionist since the beginning of time, I think. I got good training in that arena.

    I think perfectionism takes to directions with writers. Either they think everything they write is already perfect and can’t be improved upson which, when challenged by an editor, turns to anger and frustration and disgust with the publishing industry. Or, it takes the form of the unending need to produce perfect manuscripts each and every time, knowing that such will never be the case. This, too, creates anger and frustration, but emotions directed inwardly that leads to self-destruction.

    I’ve seen both of these venues since I began writing seriously last year. I can be grateful that I don’t suffer from the former, but the latter is a nemisis of the worst kind for me. It seldom happens that I write something that I feel comes up to my standard, regardless of the number of revisions.

    That’s the point at which I must have critiques. I have to keep telling myself that nothing can every be perfect when produced by a human being and pray that I pay attention to my own belief as it applies to me. Thanks.


    Comment by claudsy — November 3, 2009 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

    • Clauds,

      I know all too well how writers suffer from perfectionism. We all have to work at trying not to be perfectionists. And it is hard. I can attest to that!

      Writers get better over time. I know that is the case for me. Since I first started freelance writing some five years until a year ago, I have been really feeling lost. And that is still the case despite the case that I have two published academic books and twelve academic articles. It is hard to believe, but I think that it takes a long time for a writer to find his groove and his passion. And that is becoming much clearer to me now.

      Thanks for your comment. I look forward to hearing from you again.


      Comment by zabowska — November 3, 2009 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

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